Celebrate Le Corbusier: Top 5 Most Famous Works
Today, we celebrate Le Corbusier on his death anniversary. Le Corbusier was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. Originally named Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, he adopted the Le Corbusier pseudonym, an altered form of his maternal grandfather’s name, Lecorbésier), because he believed that anyone could reinvent himself.
In his architecture, he chiefly built with steel and reinforced concrete and worked with elemental geometric forms. Le Corbusier’s painting emphasized clear forms and structures, which corresponded to his architecture. His architecture and urban planning ideals gave birth to the idea of open-space prefabricated houses for the purpose of rebuilding cities post-World War II.
Celebrate Le Corbusier today by learning about his top 5 most famous works and what they represent.
Radiant City / Unite d’Habitation
This is the most famous of several modernist housing developments that he developed and is currently pending designation as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It comprises 337 apartments arranged over twelve stories, all suspended on large piloti (concrete stilts). The flat roof is designed as a communal terrace with sculptural ventilation stacks, a running track, and a shallow paddling pool for children. It also has unobstructed views of the Mediterranean and Marseille. It is widely praised because of its emphasis on humane living.
Notre Dame du Haut
This building is considered to be one of the most important examples of twentieth-century religious architecture. The openings of the windows are scattered in an irregular pattern and each slant towards their centers at varying degrees, thus letting in light at different angles. Le Corbusier reportedly insisted that the shapes and patterns were derived from a proportional system based on the “Golden Section.” The glass windows vary in colors of red, green, yellow, or clear. When the light hits these stained pieces, the colors act like rubies, emeralds, and amethysts radiating inside the inner walls.
We celebrate Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, which is considered one of his most important works because it best sums up the five architecture principles that he developed and wrote about in his book, Vers une architecture. The bulk of the structure is off the ground using reinforced piloti (concrete stilts). It has a free facade characterized by “non supporting walls” and an open floor plan. There are long strips of ribbon windows that allow unencumbered views of the surrounding yard. To compensate for the green area consumed by the building, there is a garden on the roof top.
Open Hand Monument
The Open Hand (La Main Ouverte) is a recurring motif in Le Corbusier’s architecture, a sign for him of “peace and reconciliation. It is open to give and open to receive.” The largest of the many Open Hand sculptures that celebrated Le Corbusier created is a 26 meter high version in Chandigarh, India, known as Open Hand Monument.
LC4 Chaise Lounge
To celebrate Le Corbusier and his philosophy on furniture, he famously said: “Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois”. Designed in 1928, the LC4 Chaise Longue (or “long chair” in English) was dubbed the “relaxing machine” because of the way it mirrors the body’s natural curves while appearing to float above its supports.
He was considered to be one of the most innovative designers of his time. However, the power of Le Corbusier’s designs to stimulate thought is widely said to be the hallmark of his career.
Celebrate Le Corbusier and others who inspire you at Everlasting Footprint. We want to hear your top 5 favorite art from Le Corbusier, or any artist. At Everlasting Footprint, we share stories, we celebrate life together.